The Hoosier Environmental Council and the group Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads have filed a lawsuit questioning a clean water act permit that was issued for a section of Interstate 69 in Greene and Monroe counties.
The permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allows the state to fill in some wetlands and streams along the route from Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center to Bloomington.
The environmental groups argue the Corps did not comply with the federal Clean Water Act or the National Environmental Policy Act. The lawsuit claims the federal group did not properly assess what environmental impact road construction will have on the area and is not requiring the state to set aside enough land for environmental mitigation.
“By pursuing this litigation, HEC aims to protect this natural landscape from needless damage,” HEC Senior Policy Director Tim Maloney said in a press release. “We also seek to promote fiscal responsibility—a core Hoosier value—by continuing to question the excessive expenditure of scarce public highway dollars.”
Malony also said the karst and groundwater topography in Section 4 make that area the most environmentally sensitive section the highway crosses.
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Indiana Department of Transportation declined to comment on the case, citing pending litigation.
The Hoosier Environmental Council and CARR have two similar lawsuits still in the courts. A challenge of the Clean Water Act permit for Section 3 of I-69 is in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. A second challenge of the permit for Section 2 is on hold, pending the outcome of the first suit.